Chocolate Toxicity

Although chocolate is a nice treat for us, it is not for our furry friends and here’s why!

Chocolate has an ingredient called theobromine that causes agitation/hyperexcitation of their nervous system.

What to look out for:
● Vomiting and/or diarrhoea
● Hyperexcitability such as twitching, nervousness/restlessness
● If severe: seizures and heart arrest can occur

The nitty gritty Science Stuff
Theobromine (3, 7-dimethylxanthine) is closely related to caffeine (1,3,7-trimethylxanthine) which explains why some of the signs are hyperexcitation, just like when we have too much coffee. The chocolate gets absorbed into the bloodstream where the liver metabolises it. But it doesn’t just go through the liver once, it gets recycled several times. This means the toxin lasts longer in the body, on average 17.5 hours.

Average* Toxic Doses:
Milk Chocolate: 50grams/10kgs Dark Chocolate: 20grams/10kgs Cooking Chocolate: 5grams/10kgs
*Disclaimer: individual animals will be affected differently

What to do if it happens?
Call us on (07) 38890899 or your emergency centre to give the veterinary staff heads up before bringing them in. We may ask you some questions about any signs your dog may be showing and an estimate of how much chocolate that ate. The type of chocolate is also very important as dark chocolate is more toxic than milk chocolate.

We will recommend the pet comes in for assessment and likely to induce emesis (make the pet vomit). This is important as it reduces any impact on the liver. In some cases, we may recommend your pet stay in-clinic on fluid therapy to help best support the liver.

How to prevent this?
Keep chocolate out of reach of your pets and small children. Let the kids know that even though chocolate is yummy for us, it is dangerous for dogs.